What’s inside the alphabet soup?
It’s important that you understand the extent of your advisor’s knowledge in different areas of finance and which credentials they hold to back their expertise. Here’s a closer look at the designations, certifications and educational milestones held by members of our team.
Certified Financial Planner
CFP® professionals are held to strict ethical standards to ensure financial planning recommendations are in your best interest. A CFP® professional must acquire several years of experience related to delivering financial planning services to clients and pass the comprehensive CFP® Certification Exam before they can call themselves a CFP® professional. Curriculum contains five core courses that cover the following planning topics: investment planning, insurance planning, estate planning, tax planning, retirement planning, education planning, ethics and the financial planning process.
Certified Public Accountant
A designation given by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants to those who pass an exam and meet work experience requirements. The CPA designation ensures that professional standards for the industry are enforced, including Audit and Attest Standards, Code of Professional Conduct, Preparation, Compilation and Review Standards, Consulting Services Standards, Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Programs Standards, Peer Review Standards, Personal Financial Planning Standards, Tax Standards and Valuation Services Standards.
Personal Financial Specialist
A specialty credential awarded by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) to CPAs who specialize in helping individuals plan all aspects of their wealth. Every three years, PFS professionals must complete 60 hours of continuing professional education.
Chartered Financial Analyst
A Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) is a professional designation given by the CFA Institute, formerly AIMR, that measures the competence and integrity of financial analysts. Candidates are required to pass three levels of exams covering areas such as accounting, economics, ethics, money management and security analysis.
The CIMA certification program is the only credential designed specifically for financial professionals who want to attain a level of competency as an advanced investment consultant. CIMA professionals integrate a complex body of investment knowledge, ethically contributing to prudent investment decisions by providing objective advice and guidance to individual investors and institutional investors.
Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst
A professional designation given out by the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst Association to establish an educational standard for individuals that specialize in the area of alternative investments (such as hedge funds, venture capital, private equity and real estate investment). In order to receive the designation, individuals must have at least one year of professional experience, a U.S. bachelor’s degree and must pass two levels of curriculum that include topics ranging from qualitative analysis, trading theories of alternative investments, to indexation and benchmarking.
Since October 2002, the Accredited Investment Fiduciary® (AIF®) Designation has been the mark of commitment to a standard of investment fiduciary excellence. Those who earn the AIF mark successfully complete a specialized program on investment fiduciary standards of care and subsequently pass a comprehensive examination. AIF designees demonstrate a thorough understanding of Fi360’s Prudent Practices for investment advisors and stewards.
Accredited Investment Fiduciary Analyst™
Accredited Investment Fiduciary Analyst™ designees are the few people in the country with knowledge in both a prudent investment process and assessment principles—qualifications that are becoming increasingly desired and demanded by both the industry and regulators. AIFA designees’ primary function is to perform, or assist in, assessments of an Investment Steward’s, Advisor’s or Manager’s conformance to a Global Fiduciary Standard of Excellence using Fi360’s ISO-like procedure of assessment.
Chartered Retirement Plan Specialist
The Chartered Retirement Plans Specialist℠ or CRPS® designation is the nation’s premier credential focusing on retirement plan administration. Candidates master the process of designing, installing and maintaining company retirement plans while earning this designation.
Qualified 401(k) Administrator
The Qualified 401(k) Administrator (QKA) credential is offered for retirement plan professionals who work primarily with 401(k) plans. Applicants for the QKA credentials are from various professional disciplines. They typically assist employers and consultants with the recordkeeping, non-discrimination testing and the administrative aspects of 401(k) and related defined contribution plans.
Individuals who hold the RP® designation have completed a course of study encompassing the financial planning process, the five disciplines of financial planning and general financial planning concepts, terminology and product categories. Additionally, individuals must pass an examination that tests their ability to synthesize complex concepts and apply theoretical concepts to real-life situations. All designees have agreed to adhere to Standards of Professional Conduct and are subject to a disciplinary process.
QPFC is the professional credential for financial professionals who sell, advise, market or support qualified retirement plans. Through the National Association of Plan Advisors (NAPA), the QPFC program provides an understanding of general retirement planning concepts, terminology, distinctive features of qualified plans and the role of retirement plan professionals. QPFC is for professionals with two to three years of retirement plan experience. A candidate will be expected to demonstrate a general proficiency of plan administration, compliance, investment, fiduciary and ethics issues.